The Scrum Framework
One of the questions we are often asked is “what is Scrum” and is it “Agile”.
The Scrum framework (Scrum) is a popular framework for developing, delivering and sustaining complex products.
Scrum was developed by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland, it is offered freely and supported by a large international community of practitioners with many resources including books, websites and courses being available.
Definition of Scrum
Scrum is defined as “a framework in which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value”.
Scrum is a Framework
Scrum is NOT a process, technique nor definitive method. Scrum IS a framework within which you can apply processes and techniques.
Uses for Scrum
Scrum is used in a wide variety of contexts. At its core, Scrum utilises a small team of individuals who work together to deliver regular incremental updates or changes to a product or service.
Basis for Scrum
Scrum is based on the concept of empiricism, or “empirical process control theory”. This means that the knowledge relating to Scrum is based on experience and making decisions based on what is currently known. Scrum uses an incremental and iterative approach, which is designed to optimise predictability and control risks.
Three pillars of empirical process control underly every implementation, including Scrum
- Transparency: Transparency is a key theme of the Scrum framework. The transparency pillar requires that significant aspects of the process must be visible to those responsible for the outcome, and requires that those aspects be defined by a common standard.
- Inspection: Artefacts should be inspected frequently, to detect undesirable variances. However, it is recommended that inspection is not undertaken so frequently as to interfere with the work being delivered.
- Adaptation: Based on the results of inspection, adjustments must be made as soon as possible to minimise further deviation.
Scrum Teams are encouraged and expected to embody and live by five values:
Successful use of Scrum, depends on team members becoming proficient in and “living” these five values.
The Scrum framework includes four formal events, to support inspection and adaptation.
- Sprint Planning
- Daily Scrum
- Sprint Review
- Sprint Retrospective
The objective of a Scrum Team is to regularly deliver increments of work (features, changes, enhancements, etc.) which can be released to the target users or customers.
The Scrum Team and Roles
The Scrum team is central to the Scrum framework.
Scrum teams are self-organising and cross-functional.
Only three roles exist within Scrum team:
- Product Owner
- Development Team Member
- Scrum Master
The Product Owner is responsible for maximising the value of the work delivered by the Scrum team. In Scrum this is primarily achieved by creation and maintenance of a prioritised list of work to be delivered, which is known as the Product Backlog.
The Development Team consists of the professionals who do the work of delivering a potentially releasable “done increment”.
Only members of the Development Team can create this increment.
The Scrum Master is a servant-leader for the Scrum team. The Scrum Master is responsible for:
- Promoting and supporting Scrum, as defined in the Scrum Guide
- Helping everyone understand Scrum theory, practice, rules and values
- Helping to manage outside interactions to maximise the value created by the Scrum Team
The Scrum framework includes four formal events, to support inspection and adaptation. All Scrum events are time-boxed, which means that each event has a maximum duration.
All activities within Scrum are performed within an overall time-box of one month or less, called a Sprint, in which a usable and potentially releasable increment of work is delivered
A Sprint is never longer than one calendar month. This helps to ensure regular inspection and adaptation and reduces the risk and cost of change and variation from quality or requirement goals.
Sprint Planning is a time-boxed event which occurs at the beginning of a Sprint and lasts for a maximum of eight hours for a one-month Sprint.
Sprint Planning answers two questions:
- What can be done in this Sprint?
- How will the chosen work get done?
The Development team is responsible for determining what it can achieve over the Sprint. The Development Team also works together with the Product Owner to define a Sprint Goal, which is an objective set for the Sprint.
The Daily Scrum is a 15 minute time-boxed event for the Development Team. The Daily Scrum is held every (working) day during a Sprint and is used to inspect progress and plan activities for the next 24 hours.
The Daily Scrum helps to improve communications and ensure everyone in the Development Team is clear about what needs to be done next, to ensure the Sprint Goal is achieved.
The Sprint Review is a time-boxed event which occurs at the end of a Sprint and lasts for a maximum of four hours for a one-month Sprint.
The purpose of the Sprint Review is for the Scrum team and stakeholders to collaborate on inspecting the outcome of the Sprint and revise the Product Backlog to allow for any feedback and changes required.
The Sprint Review also helps the Scrum team to identify potential product Backlog items for delivery in the next Sprint.
The Sprint Retrospective is a time-boxed event which occurs at the end of a Sprint, usually after the Sprint Review, and lasts for a maximum of three hours for a one-month Sprint.
The purpose of the Sprint Retrospective is for the Scrum team to inspect its own activities and to create a plan for improvements to be implemented for the next Sprint.
The artefacts of Scrum are designed to maximise transparency and opportunities for inspection and adaptation.
The Product Backlog is an ordered list of all of the requirements relating to the product or enhancement being delivered.
The Sprint Backlog is a subset of the product Backlog items which have been selected by a Scrum Team for delivery within a particular Sprint, along with details as to how this will be delivered.
Scrum is one of many frameworks freely available for use by individuals and organisation wanting to improve delivery of products or the way they operate.
For more information on the Scrum framework …
Christopher William Young
Maximizing business value through organizational agility
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